‘Aquarium on Wheels’ gives kids a chance to experience oceanic life

Educator Mary Beth Pacewicz, right, answers questions about sea creatures in the "Aquarium on Wheels" presented by Aquarium of the Pacific at the Valencia Marketplace in Stevenson ranch on Saturday. Dan Watson/The Signal

For the third year in a row, the Aquarium of the Pacific’s “Aquarium on Wheels” visited the Valencia Marketplace Saturday.

The event included the “Pacific Journeys” show, which aims to teach attendees about life in the ocean. Attendees were also able to see full-size replicas of several giant sea animals, according to Ali Patton, an educator with Aquarium of the Pacific. Visitors were also able to tour the “aquarium” to see live sea creatures up close and even have some “touch time” with some of the animals.

“We have a lot of cool things that kids can come over, touch and interact with, especially if they’re not able to come to the beach or go to the aquarium,” said Patton. “Everything on board, with the exception of the crab, is touchable. It’s a gentle two-finger touch, just to make sure all our animals are safe, but even the sharks are touchable.”

On board the aquarium on wheels were a variety of live “tide pool” animals, which included crabs, sea anemones, sea urchins and four baby sharks.

Patton said a large part of the outreach program is to improve critical thinking and teach kids about various marine-biology topics, such as habitats and adaptations.

“It really gets kids thinking about how the whole ocean isn’t the same. It gets them thinking about different habitats not only in the sea but on the land, as well,” Patton said. “That’s really important to get them thinking about science and thinking about exploration.”

The Gerringer family, who were in attendance with their two children Richie and Pearl, said that their kids enjoy documentaries about fish and other sea life and wanted to take advantage of the opportunity to keep the learning going in a hands-on way.

“They like the aquarium and coming to us was very convenient,” said Richie’s father, Rich.

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